Gun violence seems to permeate through all facets of today’s media. Around the country news of shootings can usually be found in most cities. However, this kind of news hit closer to home on January 22, 2016 when police responded to reports of a man brandishing a gun on the Las Vegas Strip, according to The Washington Times. Las Vegas Police responded to the incident after receiving reports about a man threatening tourists with a gun on the Strip. The Las Vegas Sun reported that an officer arrived on the scene and attempted to give verbal commands to the man with the gun. It was only after the individual ignored those commands that the officer fired on the man.
When Police Hit Pedestrians
Unfortunately, once the officer opened fire, he missed the man and instead grazed two pedestrians. One man was only grazed in his clothing and left the scene unscathed. The other individual was a juvenile whose leg was grazed by the officer’s bullet. The juvenile was taken to University Medical Center, but was released shortly afterward in good condition. The officer was placed on paid leave while the district attorney reviewed the circumstances of the shooting. Vice News reported that after the incident, the Las Vegas Strip was closed for several hours while other officers investigated the scene.
According to CNN, there were more than 400,000 gun-related deaths between 2001-2013. Although the majority of those deaths were suicides, about 156,000 were homicides, representing about 38.4% of the total. With such a high rate of gun violence, officers must be prepared to respond appropriately to firearm related threats. That preparation must be carefully balanced with the safety of the public at large. Any negligence on the part of the police can result in a personal injury lawsuit against those charged to serve and protect.
Settlement Following Incidents
The Los Angeles Times reported an incident with similar concerns dating back to February 2013. Los Angeles police officers were charged with protecting police and their families against an at-large former cop, Christopher Dorner, who was targeting the police. Dorner supposedly possessed a large arsenal, so the officers waiting for Dorner were decidedly nervous. When a mother and daughter drove by the officers delivering newspapers, the officers mistook the sound of a paper hitting the ground with that of a gunshot. As a result, the officers unloaded over 100 rounds of ammunition into the truck driven by the mother and daughter. The daughter was grazed in the hand, while the mother was hit twice in the back. Although no officers were criminally charged in the case, the women settled their case against the City of Los Angeles for $4.2 million.
If you are caught in a shootout between the police and an assailant, you personal injury claim may be brought against either party. Depending on your situation, any injuries caused by police officers could be a result of negligence on the part of the officer or a lack of training. In any case, your personal injury case may extend beyond the police to the municipality in which the police are operating in. Your personal injury claim is not automatically barred even if the officers were acting in accordance with their duty. To determine whether or not your claim may be successful you should contact a licensed Nevada personal injury attorney as soon as possible.